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PPM rebuts ex-member's contentious claims about 2015 speedboat blast

Fathmath Shaahunaz
27 December 2018, MVT 11:31
After the explosion aboard the presidential speedboat 'Finifenma' in September 2015. FILE PHOTO/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
27 December 2018, MVT 11:31

Main opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) refuted and condemned the fiery claims made by the former spokesperson for the President's Office, Ibrahim Muaz Ali, regarding the explosion aboard the presidential speedboat in September 2015.

Previously a strong supporter of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, Muaz abruptly called a press conference Wednesday night at which he made controversial allegations opposing the former leader.

According to Muaz, there were "strange" occurrences prior to the explosion on the 'Finifenma' speedboat. He noted that Yameen, who at the time had returned from Hajj pilgrimage with former First Lady Fathimath Ibrahim, had planned to speak to the press at the presidential jetty 'Izzudheen Faalan' in capital Male' instead of the VIP lounge in Velana International Airport, which was his usual practice.

Muaz further claimed that Fathimath Ibrahim was seated at the spot usually assumed by Yameen on the speedboat while the former president sat next to her, on the journey from the airport to Male'.

The former First Lady had suffered various injuries in the explosion that took place as the speedboat was pulling up to the jetty.

The former spokesperson went on to declare that he had not witnessed a single "spark" of fire on the speedboat, and that he had given his statement to the police as such.

However, Muaz claimed that Umar Naseer, who was the Minister of Home Affairs at the time, had later handed him a video of the incident, which depicted fire on the speedboat. He commented that the video could have been edited by a computer designer or video editor, rushing to add, "I'm not saying that it was an edit or not; I'm not conducting an investigation here."

Asserting that his statements were not meant to defame the former president or any other individual, Muaz called on the administration of President Ibrahim Solih and Maldives Police Service to investigate the case.

Muaz also announced his resignation from PPM and its council the same night.

Following Muaz's press conference, the main opposition released a statement declaring that Muaz's allegations regarding the speedboat explosion were false. Strongly condemning his claims, PPM added that it has filed a case against Muaz at the party's Disciplinary Committee.

The explosion aboard the Finifenma speedboat was one of the most shocking events in 2015. The incident was part of then Vice President Ahmed Adheeb's sudden downfall, in which he was convicted of orchestrating the explosion. Two of Adheeb's bodyguards were also found guilty.

While the former vice president faces a 15-year jail sentence over the case, Ibrahim Muaz Ali had also commented that there were many people within PPM itself who were envious of the close friendship between Yameen and his then deputy. Stating that he had witnessed the envy with his own eyes and that many had believed that Adheeb must be overcome in order to reach Yameen's level, Muaz implied that the incident was orchestrated to "come in between them".

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